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Events > 2011 > Scottish National Wind Farm Conference - November 11, 2011

Download Ayr statement

LogoDr Sarah Laurie

Thank you to the organizing committee for the chance to say a few words.

The time for denial of the serious adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines on nearby residents globally is well and truly over.

When I first started investigating this problem in July 2010, I had a defining moment while trying to wade through the “spin” of the wind industry sponsored literature reviews purporting to “independently” investigate this issue.

Either there ARE adverse health effects, or there are NOT.

It quickly became clear to me that the health problems are real, serious and at times life threatening. The incidence is rapidly increasing with the deployment of larger turbines closer to homes in many countries. There are now hundreds of case reports which I am personally aware of in Australia, the UK, Europe, Canada, the US, and New Zealand. I have interviewed over 90 people in Australia alone who have been seriously affected – some have left their homes, some their farms as well.

Some have signed confidentiality agreements, in exchange for being bought out, in order to regain their health. Trish Godfrey from Australia and Barb Ashbee from Canada, are two women in this situation, where their stories are now out in the public domain. I know them both, and they have suffered greatly, as have their families. There are many others, as the practice is global. It is my opinion that the ONLY reason for this practice of secrecy clauses has been to keep these health problems out of the public view, and hence out of the view of public health authorities and researchers, although the industry claims otherwise. This conduct is deliberate in its intent to mislead, and shows corporate behaviour at its worst.

Turbine hosts and their families also get sick. Increasingly they are contacting us for information and advice. Universally they are angry they have been lied to by the developers, in particular about the health problems and the noise impacts. Many of them, too, cannot speak publicly for the same reason.

The health problems have now been well described by numerous concerned Medical Practitioners, who have all done this work unfunded by government or research grants, anywhere in the world. The names of Dr Amanda Harry, Dr David Iser, Dr Nina Pierpont and Professor Robert McMurtry are no doubt familiar to many of you. Each of these doctors has urged further research, which is adequately funded and truly independent. The denigration of these Doctors and others such as Dr Chris Hanning & Dr Michael Nissenbaum, who have all courageously investigated the problems and then publicized them, is typical of the “shoot the messenger” tactics used globally.

The victims, or affected residents, are been subjected to the worst form of victim blaming and vilification from both the wind developers and their financial and ideological supporters. This behaviour has certainly added to the burden of significant and at times life threatening psychiatric illness which these people have endured, in addition to the other serious health problems they have developed.

These people just want to live in their homes, sleep in their beds, and farm their land, as they always have done. Instead they are being driven out of their homes, because of ill health in one or more family member. There are wind farm refugees everywhere, and their stories are harrowing, and mostly unheard.

However, the tide is turning.

There has been a recent judgement in a Canadian court case where the judges found on the basis of expert evidence presented in that case, that there ARE adverse health effects. The first lawsuit has been lodged following that decision, alleging health impacts. Those judges recommended research.

The Australian Senate inquiry recommended research, and Professor Warwick Anderson, the CEO of Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, clearly stated that “we do not consider that there are no ill effects” from exposure to operating wind turbines in his evidence to that inquiry.

The Waubra Foundation Board issued an Explicit Cautionary Notice, worded very carefully by a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, in order to make it very clear to EVERYBODY with responsibilities for turbine siting decisions, that they will be held accountable if they put turbines too close to homes. We advocate a precautionary setback of 10km until the research is done, as that is the limit at which symptoms are reliably being reported in association with turbine operation. As people’s symptoms always worsen with chronic cumulative exposure, it may be that even 10km is unsufficient to protect health.

The combination of fraudulent denial of the existence of serious health problems by wind developers, and willing blindness on the part of bureaucracies and health officials is simply unacceptable, and it now leaves elected officials, bureaucrats, and wind developers open to serious legal consequences.

Dr. Sarah LaurieDr. Sarah Laurie, BMBS, Flinders (1995)
Medical Director
The Waubra Foundation

Mobile: 0439 865 914
PO Box 1136, South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3205

Researching the Health Effects of Wind Turbines close to Human Habitation.

Scottish National Wind Farm Conference

Ayr Racecourse - Friday 11th November



Graeme Pearson MSP will chair the conference

Exhibition Stands are available for display and networking – please contact Kim to reserve yours
A full question and answer session with the panel will follow the morning and afternoon session.

Graeme Pearson MSP will Chair the conference

10.00 coffee and networking

10.30 Opening of the Conference by Graeme Pearson MSP - Chair

10.45 Professor Iain MacLeod, Vice-President, The Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland (IESIS) and Chairman of the IESIS Energy Strategy Group
‘The engineering dimension in the planning of wind power generation’ "The talk will discuss the uncertainties involved in using wind power to meet the Scottish Government’s main policy objectives for electricity generation - security of supply, affordability, and reduction in carbon emissions. The level of uncertainty is such that an urgent assessment of the situation is needed. The assessment should use an engineered systems approach to seek to get as close as possible to the truth in relation to the effectiveness of wind power. The technical problems of wind generation will be discussed, recently developed estimates of the cost of wind power will be presented and proposals as to what government action is needed will be made. A multidisciplinary engineering approach must be adopted.

11am a minutes silence for Armistice day

11.02 Colin Gibson, IESIS member, formerly Power Network Director, the National Grid. IESIS is a multidisciplinary professional engineering body will speak about the cost of wind power.

11.15 Dr Chris Hanning is honorary consultant in Sleep Medicine to the University Hospitals of Leicester. He is one of the pioneers of sleep medicine in the UK, founding and developing the Leicester service which is one of the busiest in the UK. Since retirement in 2007, I have spent a lot of time fighting windturbines because of the effect they have on peoples’ sleep. I have given evidence at a number of planning hearings in the UK and Canada. I wrote a review of the subject which is on the internet and, I believe, has been very helpful to a lot of groups around the world. I am actively engaged in research on the problem of windturbine noise, sleep and health.

11.30 Dr Malcolm Swinbanks studied for his doctorate in Applied Mathematics under Professor Sir James Lighthill, at Cambridge. Lighthill held the Lucasian Professorship, first awarded to Isaac Newton. Two of Lighthill’s accomplishments – Aeroacoustics, the mathematical procedures for jet-engine noise reduction, together with his subsequent analysis of the dynamics of the cochlea (inner ear) - relate directly to the understanding and perception of wind-turbine noise. This background gave Swinbanks the incentive to pursue the practical application of mathematics, working first with the research department of Yarrows Shipyard in Glasgow, relating to noise and vibration in ships and submarines. He successfully pursued the Active Control of Low Frequency Noise, in the process becoming familiar with issues relating to community perception of Low-Frequency Noise and Infrasound. Further experience was gained working with several divisions of Rolls-Royce on Aero-Engine dynamics and Industrial Gas Turbine noise.
In 1994, the US Congress requested him to transfer to the United States his research in underwater low-frequency sound and vibration, becoming Principal Scientist to a US company under contract to the US Office of Naval Research. Research areas included extremely high precision vibration isolation and shock mitigation. Most recently, he was approached by people who are encountering very real problems from wind-turbine noise, in some cases being driven from their homes. He has visited several windfarms where noise is a significant problem, thus gaining first-hand experience of the extremely adverse conditions to which some people are now being subjected.

11.45 Dick Bowdler has been a noise consultant for forty years and was one of the original members of the Institute of Acoustics when it was founded in 1974. He has examined and reported on about 90 wind farm Environmental Statements on behalf of Local Authorities or objectors and is currently retained by several local authorities in the UK to provide an independent assessment of the noise issues in their windfarm applications. He is also currently employed by RenewableUK, the developers organisation, on the steering group managing a major research project into amplitude modulation in wind turbines.
He has organised and given papers at many national and international conferences. He is on the organising committee of the biennial international wind farm conferences and is co-editor of a book on wind turbine noise due to be published next month.

12.00 Plenary Session with the Panel of speakers

13.00 Lunch

14.00 Helen McDade: ‘The Trust's view on the issues around energy as it impacts wild areas - both from an "impacts on wild and natural landscapes" viewpoint and regarding the national strategic aspects which lead to those impacts on the wild land.'
“Helen McDade is Head of Policy at the John Muir Trust – a membership organisation which aims to ensure better protection for wild land. Helen’s work involves ensuring the Trust develops effective strategic policies for the protection of wild land. This work is currently particularly focused on strategic energy issues, due to the current number of proposed energy developments which could impact on wild areas. As a key organisation in the Beauly Denny Landscape Group, the Trust worked with economic and electrical transmission experts to make the holistic case that the Beauly Denny overhead line is not required. Helen and her team make sure Trust policies are communicated to decision makers at all levels, from local authorities to the European Parliament.
Helen has worked for the Trust since 2005. She graduated from Edinburgh University and worked as a veterinary surgeon before taking time out of formal work to look after her children. Helen has also worked for WWF Scotland and before that she was involved in health campaigning and lobbying for various organisations.”

14.15 Struan Stevenson MEP has represented Scotland as a Conservative MEP for the past 12 years. He is Vice President of the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee, President of the Delegation for Relations with Iraq and President of the Parliament's biggest Intergroup, the Climate Change, Biodiversity & Sustainable Development Intergroup, which has more than 200 MEP's as members. He is a well-known and vociferous opponent of wind turbines.
Struan’s Speech is entitled NATIONAL FOLLIES and will focus on the financial scandal of the race for renewables and the impact of industrial wind turbines on Scotland's unique landscape heritage and tourism.

14.30 An opportunity for speakers from the floor

15.00 Plenary Session with Panel

15.45 Roundup by Graeme Pearson MSP

16.00 close

To register or reserve a stand contact Kim Terry (

Do you want to know more about wind farms? Are you undecided about them? Do you think they are a good idea but are open to hearing a little bit more than the usual spin? Perhaps you would like to find out more about the health or noise implications? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, there is an opportunity to find out more - considerably more. A wind farm conference is being arranged for Friday 11 November 2011 at the Ayrshire Suite of Ayr Racecourse. This event is being organised by Communities Against Turbines Scotland (CATS). The cost is £26 per person and includes lunch and parking. This is a non-profit conference. Register for the conference here:

Looking at the list of speakers, the conference will afford an excellent opportunity to hear about several different aspects of wind farms - from health issues to technical issues and from the ecological issues to strategic issues. If you can find the time to attend this event, do so; you will have a rare opportunity to listen to some very knowledgeable and eminent individuals. There will also be an excellent opportunity to meet other members of the public who have specific views and knowledge of wind farms in general.

To find out more:


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